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Recession-Proof Your Career

Stay Positive: Thoughts for the Workplace During a Tough Economy

By Bob Rosner and Sherrie Campbell

Times are tough, but your own negativity could be making work miserable for you and for your coworkers. Sure, it's tough to keep positive thoughts for the workplace when the economy is struggling. But positive employees make for a positive work environment. It's important to reach out with positive energy to coworkers, even when you're running low on positive thoughts for the workplace. Here are some tips on what makes a positive work environment. Also, check out our action plan on maintaining a positive attitude in the workplace.

Be appreciative. Most corporations are looking for teamwork today. When was the last time you verbally congratulated a coworker or threw a surprise birthday party for another employee? Create a more satisfying work life by looking for ways to celebrate your team.

Recharge yourself. Work can let the air out of anyone's tires. That's why it's so important to look for opportunities to energize your workplace. We've heard all kinds of crazy tricks for raising individual and office morale - from covering for a coworker so they could stay home with a sick pet, to Nerf basketball games and (our favorite) office volleyball. One boss actually bought volleyball nets and strung them across the top of his team's cubicles. Whenever work got slow, the volleyball game began. What can you do to light a spark in your office?

Volunteer your time. Volunteering works on a number of levels. You can give a gift to the entire office by cleaning the office fridge. Or recruit coworkers into a team of volunteers to help out a local school or homeless shelter. Don't limit your efforts to events that are office related. You might try staffing a phone line during a broadcast telethon, tutoring, or teaching science to kids. Doing good work outside of the office can improve positive thoughts for the workplace.

Avoid negativity. Lily Tomlin once said, "No matter how cynical you get, it is never enough." Take charge of those thoughts, you're the only one who can. Your feet haven't gone anywhere without your brain giving the orders! Where ever you let those thoughts go-your attitude, words and actions will not be far behind. Isn't it amazing how negative just breeds negative!

You'll notice this wasn't a list of actions but workplace attitudes. It's your workplace attitude plus your actions that lead to your altitude in a company. Learn how to give, and watch your career rise with your attitude.

More: Maintaining a positive attitude in the workplace

Bob Rosner and Sherrie Campbell author the weekly internationally-syndicated workplace911 column. Bob's a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. Sherrie's a work relations expert and award-winning comedian. Together they offer 12 years of quick, intuitive and humorous column responses on their website. You can e-mail them at